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Superintendent Update, March 12, 2021
Superintendent Update, March 12, 2021
Kevin Ross
Friday, March 12, 2021

Marshall Schools Community,

Nearly one year in to the Co-Vid 19 pandemic, I would like first to commend our teachers, administrators, supervisors, bus drivers, custodians, maintenance staff, cooks, office personnel, substitute teachers, teacher aides, nursing and medical staff, tech staff, students, parents, and community as a whole on the job they have all done in working through to this point together.

As we finish up the school day to day, we currently have 0 known cases of Co-Vid among staff and students, and 2 students that we know of in quarantine due to close contact outside of school.  Numbers are trending in a good direction and small steps are being made in a return to normalcy for all involved.

Unfortunately, things are still far from normal, as the pandemic is still here, and we still have many rules and mitigations placed upon us that for the time being we must live with and continue to work through.

With that in mind, I would like to address a few of the frequently asked questions that we get to the best of my ability.   The answer given on these is where things stand today, and as we have learned can change at any time.

In-Person and Remote Learning Options

Both of these options have been available throughout the year.  The format of these and the ability to move from one to another will remain for the remainder of this school year.

Masks & Social Distancing in the School

Masks are still required as is the need to social distance to at least 3 feet with desks and ideally 6 feet if at all possible.  Contact tracing can still occur as it has throughout the year.

End of Year Dates

The last day for students will be May 19.  May 20 and May 21 will be dates used to collect materials and technology from our remote learning population.

Summer School

A four week summer school / credit recovery program for 7th – 12th grade will be available free of charge beginning May 24 and ending on June 18.  This will be offered primarily In-Person, with a Remote Option for those considered High-Risk for Co-Vid 19.  The Remote Option would be accessible with a Doctor Note.  More information will be shared soon on details for Summer School.

State Testing

The Federal Government is requiring that state tests be administered.  Thus the Illinois State Board of Education is requiring Marshall Schools to administer the state test.  There is some provision for a student to opt out of taking the test this year.  More details on this will be shared soon.

Spring Field Trips

We have gone almost a year with limited to no field trip experiences for our students of all ages.  Outdoor field trips such as a picnic at Lincoln Trail, or a tour of the Wall Dog Murals for our elementary students this spring will be allowed.  We are still very limited otherwise.

High School Volleyball and Football Season / JH Girls Basketball Season

Our next athletic season with practice already underway are HS Volleyball and Football and JH Girls Basketball.  As the IDPH rules stand now for volleyball and JH Girls Basketball, masks will be worn by all, spectators continue to be limited to 50.  Tickets will be distributed to players prior to each home game with no fewer than 2 tickets per player given.  Senior night for volleyball will be held at their last home game.

Football, despite being outside, will require masks of all involved including spectators.  Spectators for football has been expanded to 20% capacity.  There will be no reserved seats this year.  The baseline spectator plan for Football, which includes Marching Band, Cheerleaders, and Marshallettes is for each participant to receive no fewer than 2 tickets to each home game with Senior participants receiving 4.  The conference and Marshall Schools will be allowing a limited number of visiting spectators.  60  visiting spectators will be allowed on the visitors side at MHS home games.  The number of visiting spectators at road games is to be announced.  Ticket distribution plans for road games will be determined as soon as we know how many are allowed.  Cheerleaders will be cheering at road varsity games.  Senior night for Football, Marching Band, Cheer, and Marshallettes will be at the last home varsity game.

Late Spring Sports

JH Track, HS Track, HS Baseball, and HS Softball are set for late spring / early summer.  As the IDPH rules stand masks would be worn by all including participants and spectators.  In track, running events are limited to using every other lane.  Seating will be 20% capacity in bleachers and socially distanced along fence lines.

HS Spring Ceremonies

Indoor Ceremonies are limited to 50 spectators at this time.

National Honor Society induction will be on April 28th, in McNary Gym,  and will be done in 2 separate ceremonies.  1 for Juniors and 1 for Seniors.  Each inductee will be allowed 2 spectators.

Senior Academic Awards Night is scheduled for May 19, in McNary Gym with each participant being allowed 2 spectators.

Outdoor Ceremonies follow the 20% capacity rule for spectators. 

Graduationat this time graduation is scheduled to be outdoors at the football field on May 28, 7:00 p.m. (Rain date would be May 29 depending on the forecast).  The stage would be set on the home sideline at the football field, with graduates seated on the track.  4 tickets for home grandstand and bleacher seating will be distributed to each graduate. Some standing room tickets may be distributed as well.  Graduation will be followed by a parade of graduates as we did last year.

Prom – With the rules as they stand, we are very limited as to what we can do as a school with regards to a prom, specifically in hosting a prom that includes a dance.  Juniors and Seniors at Marshall Schools were surveyed and the interest is high in a prom that would include dancing, but much less so one without.  We as a district wish that all experiences for all students at all ages could be held as normal.  These can’t be replaced.  This has an extra impact for our graduating seniors.  Our Graduating class of 2020 missed out completely on spring sports, Prom, a normal graduation, and many milestone events and a year later our class of 2021 has experienced nothing close to normal on these as well.  While we can hope that IDPH rules will ease to the point that this could happen we don’t know and feel it best and fair to share that we will not be able to host a viable prom that would meet student expectations under the current conditions. 

It is possible that parents may choose to host private events that would be separate from the school.

In  Closing

Again, thank you to all of you for your patience and efforts in working through this pandemic together.  Please stay aware that we are not out of the woods on this yet and are taking baby steps towards normalcy.  I hope the information above is valuable.  I apologize that it appears focused on sports and high school events as this year has been a challenge for students of all ages and their families.  If your question was not answered above, feel free to contact me, and I will do my best to get you an answer.  As you can see, many of those answers still may not be what we want to hear.

Sincerely,

Kevin Ross

Superintendent, Marshall Schools